It’s funny how the players and the owners are just now using mediation via George Cohen to sort things out. They’ve been at odds for months and both sides, at least currently, aren’t willing to compromise. At the same time the players really don’t have leverage in this situation. So bringing in a mediator likely won’t solve things unless the players realize they’re nearly out of poker chips. Young stars like Durant and Rose can respectively stay hopeful and swear this long lockout wasn’t their doing. They were endorsing, not signing and cutting the checks after all. We’ve heard nothing but high praise – really high praise – for Cohen. Some are basically calling him a genius, the very best at what he does, and even someone who’s as smart as David Stern. But can he work a miracle? … Danny Granger moved up in rank on the NBA good guy list by offering to buy dinner for all Pacer employees at Conseco Fieldhouse. Employees and local businesses are feeling the economic brunt right now. But at least Granger offered an olive branch of sorts to a few who’ll get hit the hardest. You could go Yahoo! Sports’ route and suspect ulterior motives. But any help is good help as long as it follows through: even if he’s just offering a meal. We hope other NBA players continue to show more forms of goodwill … Believe it or not, Eddy Curry may be “back in shape” for an NBA season which may not happen. The Miami Herald reports the center went from 350 to 300 pounds and caught the Miami Heat’s eye. Sounds like a tall tale to us given Curry’s track record but now is as good a time as any to get in shape. It’s easy enough for us to fall back into bad eating habits. Imagine how rough it’ll be for someone who probably confused a double double for a KFC Double Down at least once. We need to stop making jokes for Curry. Hopefully he has finally turned it around … Dwight Howard‘s comments on his upcoming free agency don’t give Magic fans much hope. It’s almost scary how closely this narrative is playing out to the one that involved Shaquille O’Neal back in 1996. Orlando’s roster obviously isn’t in good shape. Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas would have to create renaissance seasons – on top of everyone else stepping up – if they have plans to keep Howard around. If not, then we may need to expect another superstar to pack his bags for greener pastures … But doesn’t it feel like star players are almost convincing themselves nowadays that they need to be in a big market? If Howard were to go to New York or L.A., it wouldn’t just suddenly become peaches and cream. Playing in a small market is now considered a major liability, which is sad. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Howard, Chris Paul and Deron Williams during this upcoming year … There were a lot of interesting responses to this question: who had more hate – Kobe back in the day or LeBron presently? … LaMarcus Aldridge wasn’t happy with seeing Blazers’ assistant Bill Bayno depart to the Timberwolves’ coaching staff. Portland didn’t match Minnesota’s multi-year contract offer so off he went. Blazer’s Edge reports the assistant coach spent a lot of time training Aldridge during the 2010 offseason, which helps explain his sharp rise as a low post scorer and Portland’s best player. The move isn’t unlike Portland. They have a track record with head scratching front office changes. But Aldridge and Bayno built a rapport, as well as a model towards propelling his career to new heights. Why let that go? Isn’t an extended relationship more beneficial if you already see results? Especially when it’s your best player doing the complaining … If you’re around Oklahoma City, tickets are on sale for the US Fleet Tracking Basketball Invitational, starring Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant. It’ll be played this Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Cox Convention Center … And who remembers Fred Taylor, one of the NFL’s best backs for well over a decade? Turns out his son is putting up huge numbers in high school at Glades Day in Florida. Kelvin Taylor busted out for over 400 yards on Friday night and now has over 8,000 for his career. He’s a junior too … We’re out like Kyle Orton.
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